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Monday, Feb 08, 2016
USF Bulls

USF Bulls Beat: Fernandez brings success to women’s hoops


In his 13th season with the University of South Florida Bulls, women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez has produced his ninth postseason berth in the past 10 years. The No. 10-seeded Bulls (21-10), making the second NCAA tournament appearance in program history, travel to No. 7 Texas Tech (21-10) for Saturday night’s opening-round game.

“Coach Jose, he has built something really good here,’’ USF senior guard Andrell Smith said.

With all that success – and a team that is clearly the best part of a largely disappointing year for USF athletics – it’s baffling to think Fernandez’s contract expires June 30.

Don’t worry about that, USF athletic director Doug Woolard said.

“Absolutely,’’ Woolard said, when asked if a contract extension was upcoming for Fernandez. “He’s our coach.’’

USF women’s basketball in the NCAA tournament? When Fernandez took over the program during the 2000-01 season, such a concept was unthinkable. But the Bulls are rolling now – and the future looks brighter than ever.

Fernandez will receive a $10,000 incentive bonus for the NCAA bid. Overall, his base salary is $150,000. He gets $75,000 in supplemental income and is due a $50,000 “longevity bonus’’ on June 30.

“The program was at a spot where it needed a lot of help,’’ Woolard said. “He has developed it, consistently going to the postseason.

“He really understands how important recruiting is. Not only that, but he has played a style that the fans really enjoy and he has found the players who can play that style.’’

After a 3-9 football season that prompted the firing of Skip Holtz and a 12-19 men’s basketball season that fell way below expectations after last season’s NCAA bid, USF needed a feel-good story.

As Fernandez spoke about the NCAA bid Monday night during a public watch party at the Sun Dome, he addressed USF president Judy Genshaft and said, “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to coach here.’’

Looks like that will continue – as well it should.

Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, a long-time NFL assistant who was defensive coordinator with the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals, will be paid an annual salary of $350,000. Bresnahan, who has a two-year contract, is the highest-paid assistant in USF football program history.

All of Willie Taggart’s other assistants agreed to one-year contracts, which expire on Dec. 31. They include offensive coordinator Walt Wells ($210,000), associate head coach/defensive backs Ron Cooper ($210,000), linebackers coach Raymond Woodie ($200,000), defensive line coach Eric Mathies ($165,000), quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan ($165,000), receivers coach David Reaves ($150,000), running backs coach Telly Lockette ($140,000) and special-teams coordinator Stu Holt ($130,000).

Other support staff includes director of player personnel Paul Gonnella ($80,000), director of operations Sharrod Everett ($80,000), assistant director of operations Trae Hackett ($45,000) and director of player development Marquel Blackwell ($40,000).

Women’s basketball player Andrea Smith was selected for WBCA Division I Coaches All-Region team, making her eligible for All-America honors. …Ken Eriksen’s softball team (21-10) took a 15-game winning streak into Wednesday night’s home game against Dartmouth. That streak included five straight shutouts by USF pitching. …After a weekend sweep of Florida A&M, Lelo Prado’s baseball team (10-11) failed to climb over the .500 mark in Tuesday’s 6-2 loss at Bethune-Cookman. USF begins Big East play Friday night at home against Cincinnati.


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